Washington (25-55) at Detroit (53-27)

  • Game info: 7:30 pm EDT Mon Apr 12, 2004
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The Detroit Pistons are cruising into the playoffs.

The Pistons will try for their eighth straight win when they take on the visiting Washington Wizards.

Detroit, which will be the third seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs, has won 15 of its last 17, including a 101-89 victory over lowly Orlando on Saturday.

Tayshaun Prince scored a career-high 25 points, Richard Hamilton added 15 and Corliss Williamson had 13 for Detroit, which will finish the season with the second-best record in the East.

Indiana has already clinched the best record in the NBA and will have home-court advantage throughout the playoffs. New Jersey recently secured its third straight Atlantic Division crown and will be the No. 2 seed in the East.

“More than anything, it is experience that we have now,” Pistons forward Ben Wallace said. “We have been there to the Eastern Conference finals and know what it takes to get there.

“It is just a matter of us taking all that experience to the table this year and making a run for the championship.”

Chauncey Billups missed his second straight game with a sprained ankle Saturday, but Lindsey Hunter and Mike James filled in nicely, combined for 14 of Detroit’s season-high 34 assists.

“We were phenomenal with the way we passed the ball,” Detroit coach Larry Brown said. “I don’t think for 22 minutes you can play any better than the way we played.

“We’re just trying to go into the playoffs playing the best we can possibly play. And with that, we’re hoping we can give some guys some valuable experience.”

The Wizards lost 102-98 in overtime to the New York Knicks on Saturday, losing for the seventh time in their last nine games.

long since eliminated from postseason contention, the Wizards have used the last few games to get some of their younger players some experience. In the loss to the Knicks, Jarvis Hayes scored 23 points to lead Washington, which played the fourth quarter and overtime without star guards Gilbert Arenas and Larry Hughes.

”(The reserves) played, and they felt how the end of the game was supposed to feel,” Arenas said.

Jerry Stackhouse missed his 52nd game this season with a foot injury, and Kwame Brown also sat out with an injured foot.

The Wizards have lost five straight to the Pistons, dating to Dec. 4, 2002, in Detroit.

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